1861 Born September 23rd in London. Eldest daughter of Arthur Duke Coleridge (1830-1913), great-nephew of Romantic poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Mary Anne Jameson (1832-1898), a member of the Jameson Whiskey family and cousin to Gugliemo Marconi, inventor of the oscillating aerial.
1865 29th June. Mary's younger sister, Florence Lind Coleridge is born.
1867 or 1868 While Mary and Florence are having their portrait painted by a student of the artist, John Everett Millais, a friend and neighbour of the Coleridges, the student suddenly and without reason drops his brush and picks up a knife. Before any harm can come to the sisters, Millais enters the room.
1869 Travels to Switzerland with mother, sister and aunt for an extended holiday.
1873 Begins to learn Hebrew after expressing a fascination with the shape of the Hebrew alphabet. Is already fluent in French and German.
1875 Meets William Cory aka William Johnson, a former Master at Eton School. Begins writing poetry. "A Ballade of Autumn" is the only surviving piece from this very early period of her life.
1876 Mary's father, Arthur, along with the singer, Jenny Lind and her husband, Otto Goldschmitt, forms the London Bach Choir.
1880 Mary begins to write reviews under a nom de plume for The Theatre. She also writes for the Times Literary Supplement, The Cornhill and The Monthly Packet.
1883 The death of Mary's Aunt Elizabeth (her mother's sister), who lived with the Coleridges.
1885 Mary's cousin, Mildred Coleridge, becomes engaged to the freelance writer Charles Warren Adams. Her family do not approve and when Mildred's brother expresses his dislike of Warren in a letter, Mildred urges her fiancé to sue for libel. Mildred's father is Lord John Duke Coleridge, the presiding Lord Chancellor and the case attracts a great deal of attention, much to the mortification of the Coleridge family. Warren Adams wins the case and extracts a public apology from Mildred's brother. Mary, who was very close to her cousin, is forbidden to have any contact with her. Mildred and Warren Adams marry soon after the court case and Mildred remains permanently estranged from the Coleridges.
1886 Mary begins to learn Greek. She is taught by William Cory at his house in Hampstead.
1887 April. Mary, her family and her friend, Ella Coltman visit Freshwater in the Isle of Man. They visit Alfred, Lord Tennyson, a friend of Arthur Coleridge. On April 16th and 18th, Mary and Ella take part in two séances with Tennyson. None of the participants take it entirely seriously.
1890 Mary and a group of friends form "The Settee," a group of intellectuals who meet weekly to discuss literature and read their own compositions.
1891 June. William Cory dies. Mary's relationship with him was often difficult and she has mixed feelings about his death, telling a friend: "When Mr Cory died [ . . . ] there came [ . . . ] another sense that I was free — that I should never fear anyone again in just that way." (Coleridge, 64, 1954).
1893 Mary's first novel, The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus is published. It is not a great commercial success, but is praised by Robert Louis Stevenson.
1894 November. Mary meets Robert Bridges who will assist her in the first publication of her poetry.
1895 Mary begins teaching English at the London Working Women's College.
1896 Fancy's Following, a collection of Mary's poetry, is published privately by the Daniel Press.
1897 Fancy's Guerdon, a second collection of poetry is published. Mary's second novel, The King with Two Faces earns her royalties of 900.
1898 The death of Mary's mother, Mary Anne ("Aunt Minnie").
1899 Non Sequitur, a collection of Mary's essays is published.
1900 The publication of Mary's third novel, The Fiery Dawn.
1901 Mary begins to write reviews for The Guardian.
1904 The Shadow on the Wall, a novel begun and abandoned some years before, is revived and published.
1906 The publication of The Lady on the Drawing Room Floor, Mary's last completed novel.
1907 Mary begins Becq, a medieval romance, and also completes a short book about William Holman Hunt at the request of the artist himself.

In August, Mary, Florence and their father travel to Harrogate in the north of England for their annual holiday. Mary is taken ill with appendicitis, undergoes an appendectomy, contracts blood poisoning, and dies on August 25th 1907 aged forty five.


Mary Coleridge

Last modified 8 May 2006

Last modified 8 June 2007